Model: 5th Avenue
Engine Size: 3.3L
Refrigerant Type: R-12
Ambient Temp: 80
Pressure Low: 27
Pressure High: 220
Country of Origin: United States
My old R-12 system has a very slow leak. Usually I put in a 12 ounce can once every 2 years. Question I have is can a leak this small be detected? If so, about how much would it cost (roughly) to fix it and evacute and recharge the system with original R-12? Not planning to have any conversion done - even if it's cheaper. Ac currently blows reasonable cold air (has been colder, getting close to the 2 year mark)
Thank you for your time,
To properly charge a system could be close to $150.00 to 200.00. As for the repair, depends on what is leaking.
For finding relatively slow leaks there are two technologies used, dye and electronic leak detectors. One can every two years is in excess of what's considered normal unavoidable leakage. It should be found and repaired especially when R-12 is involved. Finding a local shop that is equipped to work with R-12 may be a problem though.
To use UV dye, a dose of dye would be injected then you drive the car for a few weeks with the A/C on, as dye usually only leaks out while the system is running. Then return to the garage so the system can be inspected with a UV lamp. You can do that part easily yourself using a fluorescent with a blacklight bulb. Or buy a kit with a dye injector and lamp. (Generally, buying your own A/C tools and doing it yourself pays off rather quickly) Cans of R-134a with UV dye in them are readily available but I haven't seen one of R-12. Don't use the red dye cans of R-12 that you might find NOS. UV dye is much easier to see than red dye. Once dye has been added to a system it isn't necessary to add more when recharging. It stays there pretty much permanently unless the system is taken apart and flushed.
A good electronic leak detector (which you can buy from the site sponsor) should find this leak readily if it's out in the open so the detector probe can be placed right near the leak. If it is deep in the condenser or evaporator coils it may be hard to find.
Believe me, I'd love to get it fixed properly. But as you've seen on the above post it's incredibly expensive. 200.00 recharge plus hose (assuming it's a leaking hose) 100.00 plus tax plus michellaneous parts could run me $500.00 If it's a compressor seal leaking that would mean removing the compressor from the car and disasembling it - not cheap labor wise - If I could find someone to do the job for $250 - 300 I might go for it but anything more simply isnt worth it on a car so old.
Thank you for your time,
You'll find lots of people trying to get the AC running cheap. Do it, search the forums. What you'll find is that cheap fixes won't last, and you'll end up spending what it cost in the first repair attempt and then the full amount to get it done right. Getting it done right is cheaper in the long run. To fix or not is your call, but I will not recommend a cheap fix.
You might consider a R12 to R134a conversion. What you spend on tools (gauges and the like) can be used on many cars. What you learn about AC systems can be used on many cars. What better car to learn on than an old one?
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I highly recommend that any R12 to R134a conversion replace the condenser with a higher capacity one (or one made for R134a). This is a common error in the conversion from my perspective. Yes, without a new condenser, a R12 -> R134a will not perform as well. Heck, I'd go a parallel flow condenser if you can make one fit. Having done a R12 -> R134a conversion in a K5 Blazer, I know that I could make ice cubes when I was done. The trick is to tune the entire system to your application.
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Six ounces per year would require a good electronic leak detector on a clam day to find leaks that small. And if you live in sub-zero weather can be when your leaks are the worse due to contraction and brittle rubber seals.
But what to do with it highly depends upon the rest of the vehicle, already twenty years old, going to keep it another twenty?
Ha, just rolled down the window on my old 86 Civic the last couple of years that I got rid of in 2003, unibody had major rust for the suspension and was concerned the wheels would fall off.
I know Tim loves to hear about my son's 93 Bravada that he finally got rid of a couple of years ago. Compressor seal failed so drove it the last year with the window rolled down. Also major rust, was worth repairing or even a can of that way overpriced R-12. And over 200K on the clock. We survived.
So what about your Chrysler? Worth fixing? Can you even roll down the windows?
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